Manufacturers ask govt to suspend electricity exports, as load shedding persists


ZESCO should completely suspend exports of electricity to other countries to stabilise local requirements of industries, Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) have said.

It was critical to have a total suspension of electricity exports to other countries in order to satisfy the local demand, ZAM Chief Executive Officer Muntanga Lindunda said in a statement on Tuesday in Lusaka.

“While we commend Government for reducing the export of electricity to other countries, we would ask for a total suspension of thus in the interim to stabilise the local requirements of our industries,” Lindunda said.

Read more: Govt bows to pressure, cuts down electricity exports

She said considering the importance of the sector to economic growth, it was recommended that Government increases the power supply during production hours to avoid manufacturers passing on the increased cost to consumers.

Additionally, the Government should also look into investing in other sources of energy to encourage industrialization in the country.

Lindunda indicated that Government should implement policies to encourage energy production by the private sector.

“We have advocated for the removal of excise duty from captive power plants and this can be further encouraged by ensuring that they supply a higher portion of their energy to the Grid as an incentive,” she said.

Lindunda pointed out that despite the split in the power outage period, the effects on the sector was still immense.

She said that load shedding had increased production costs for most manufacturers in form of an increase in fuel expenditure to run generators, as some companies project to spend millions of Kwacha on diesel every month.

Lindunda indicated that the negative impact of this on the already overburdened foreign exchange requirements cannot be understated as the country’s fuel consumption would rise.

She said this may inevitably have an effect on the exchange rate and inflationary targets in the country.

“We are encouraged by the interventions by the Head of State in engaging stakeholders and would further ask Government to hold accountable those responsible for planning the energy supply in the country for any shortcomings so we may plan for undisrupted electricity supply in the country in the future,” Lindunda said.

She noted the efforts that the Government was putting in place to mitigate the challenges associated with load shedding in the country.

Lindunda indicated that hydro remained the main source of energy in Zambia contributing about 81.5 percent to the total national installed electricity capacity as of 2021.

However, the Association notes the inconsistencies in the communication regarding the number of hours of load shedding and adherence thereto Load shedding came into effect on January, 3 2023 and on January 4, 2023 a statement was issued by ZESCO extending power outages from six hours to 12 hours daily.

On January 8, 2023, another statement was issued announcing a reduction in the power outage period from 12 hours to six hours effect January 9, 2023

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